Manchester United are suffering due to a lack of speed in the midfield, claims former defender Gary Neville

The England right-back turned TV pundit feels that opposition managers are taking a more attacking approach when they face the reigning Premier League champions

Gary Neville has claimed that the Manchester United midfield is too slow this season, with their lack of dynamism and speed in attack to blame for their poor start to the Premier League.

The former United defender feels that their inability to dominate games like they have done in recent years is allowing opposition sides to recover, and is also resulting in managers deploying a more attacking line-up to target this weakness.

David Moyes looked on from the sidelines on Saturday as his team conceded a late Adam Lallana goal to allow Southampton to earn a deserved 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, meaning they have won just three of their opening eight league games, having already got off to their worst start since 1978.

And TV pundit Neville has offered his analysis on where the problem lies, with a lack of speed in the centre of the park to blame.

“There is still a sense that David Moyes is finding out about his players and his own way in the job,” Neville explained in the Daily Mail. “The key for me is that the speed of their game through the midfield is not quick enough.

“United have always been about those relentless waves of attacks, sustained for good periods without counter which would eventually overwhelm the opposition. Because this isn’t happening opponents have time to rest and recover between attacks.

"And it means teams are perhaps playing a few more attacking players against United and going into games with a bit more confidence than usual. Southampton certainly showed that in the first 20 minutes of the game.

Moyes made just one first team signing in the summer, shelling out £27.5m for former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini as he attempted to address the lack of depth in an area that has drawn attention in recent years.

While Fellaini is yet to produce his best for United, they have last season’s in-form England midfielder in Michael Carrick, as well as veteran Ryan Giggs to choose from, though this does highlight an alarming lack of pace.

However, despite United falling eight points behind league-leaders Arsenal, Neville remains in support of the current manager, and believes that he will need to come through the poor run of form is he is to succeed at Old Trafford.

“I have no doubt that David Moyes will be an excellent United manager,” said Neville. “But for now he is having to endure some painful results.”

United’s Premier League run will again take a break when they entertain Spanish side Real Sociedad in the Champions League on Wednesday night, with Moyes’ team currently second in Group A after victory over Bayer Leverkusen and a draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea